I want to preface what I’m about to say by noting that I am genuinely sorry for Samuel Umtiti.
When he arrived at Barcelona, he was the real deal. A proper old school centre-back that could do it all and for a snip in the transfer market to boot.
For my money, he was, alongside Gerard Pique, the best defender in La Liga.
However, his decision to not have his knee treated properly, going down a more holistic route, in hindsight, has ruined his career. Certainly ruined it at Barca at any rate.
The Frenchman just isn’t up to the task over an extended period anymore.
Yes, he did one or two good things on the night, stopping En-Nesyri for example when it appeared he would score, but, frankly, that is what he is handsomely remunerated for. A basic requirement for any central defender.
For what turned out to be the two biggest moments of the game, he was found wanting, and may have even cost us the tie if we can’t complete another remuntada at Camp Nou.
It’s not the first time Big Sam has been culpable either, and perhaps he might not have even started if other defenders had been fit.
He’s hung around like a bad penny over the last two or three transfer windows, stealing a living from the blaugranes, but no more.
If there’s one thing that must define the new presidency, it is a ruthlessness and solid business ethic from top to bottom.
If that means letting Umtiti leave for peanuts but saving on salary, that’s a decision that must be taken this summer.
Of course, finding suitable replacements will be far from easy, however, that can’t be used as an excuse not to test the marketplace.
It’s nigh on impossible to see Umtiti starting the second leg, or the upcoming games either. Can you honestly imagine how he’d fare up against Neymar or Mbappe?!
The time has come to wish him well, thank him for what he’s done for the club - at least in the early part of his tenure - and send him off into the yonder.
In fact, unless there’s an injury crisis over the next few weeks, I’d be very surprised indeed if we even see Umtiti in a Barca shirt again.
Pique and Araujo will be back soon, Lenglet isn’t that bad and Mingueza is a reasonable enough alternative for now, so we’re well covered.